Gallant Says Israeli Operations in Rafah Will ‘Intensify’

Israel said five of its troops were killed by 'friendly fire' in northern Gaza

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Thursday that Israel will send more troops to Rafah and “intensify” operations in the city where around 1 million civilians are sheltering.

“This operation will continue with additional forces that will enter [the area]. Several tunnels in the area have been destroyed by our forces and more tunnels will be destroyed soon,” Gallant said, according to The Times of Israel.

“This operation will intensify, and Hamas is not an organization that can regenerate itself now,” he said.

The announcement from Gallant comes despite the US claiming that it’s opposed to a major Israeli operation in Rafah. President Biden has threatened to withhold certain types of weapons from Israel if it launches a major assault on “population centers,” but so far, he hasn’t imposed any consequences. Instead, his administration is moving forward with a $1 billion arms package for Israel.

According to aid groups, about 450,000 people have fled Rafah since Israel launched its operation. Before Israel captured the Rafah border crossing last week, it was estimated that about 1.4 million civilians were sheltering in the city, which has a pre-war population of 275,000. The Israeli operation has cut off the vital Rafah border crossing, adding to the starvation blockade on the Strip.

Israel has also escalated in northern Gaza in areas where it previously claimed to have defeated Hamas. Israel has ramped up strikes across the Strip, killing scores of Palestinians in the past week.

The Israeli military has faced fierce resistance on the ground in both Rafah and the Jabalia refugee camp, and at least one Israeli soldier has been killed in Rafah. The Israeli military said Thursday that five IDF soldiers were killed by “friendly fire” in Jabalia.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.